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i want to thank quail ridge books for inviting me back and all you people coming out to hear about general phil sheridan, who, of the leaders at the war, he i the least know, the others being uhis see s. grant and william, tecumseh, sherman. these generals appeared on postage stamps honoring great commanders. sheridan is on grant's left. this is appropriate because, by the time the civil war ended, sheridan was sometimes referred as to the left hand of grant.
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he was ten years younger than grant and sherman. he was a dynamo. inspired his men with his intensity and by his personal leadership. he led from the front but he was also a careful planner. yet he was the one who promptly acted on a plan, and once it was made, and was willing to change it if the conditions changed on the battlefield. but during the war, sheridan became a household name because of his great victories in the shenandoah valley, especially at cedar creek, and for waging what was called a total war there he was one of grants most dependable generals. so much so that during the close toking days of the war, sheridan was the de facto commander of the army on potomac.
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few would spite he was the most demanding general they had. like grant and sheridan, he first fought in the war's western theater, in tennessee. his alertness and tenacity saved general williams rosencrants' army from -- he stormed missionary ridge in 1863 in march, 1864, grant brought sheridan east with him to command the army of the potomac's cavalry corps. sheridan spent the last year of the war in virginia. after the war, sheridan carried out the government's reconstruction policies in louisiana and texas. he wagged a cold war on the mexican border. during the plains-indian war, sheridan was the top indian fighter. eventually became commander-in-chief of the army, and surprisingly, phil sheridan
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saved yellowstone national park from exploitation. sheridan grew up in ohio, and graduated from west point in 1853. when the civil war began in 1861, sheridan was an obscure 30-year-old infan tricaptain serving in the oregon territory. grant first recognized sheridan's leadership abilities in 1862 when sheridan was commanding a cavalry brigade that defeated a larger rebel force in mississippi, three months after shilo. in chattanooga in november 1863, grant watched sheridan and his division storm missionary ridge and then pursue the confederates for hours when no one else did. grant knew then that sheridan was much like him. someone who would act properly,
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who would fight always, and who would never quit. of the hundreds of generals that served on both sides of the civil war, that description fit just a handful. grant brought sheridan east with him when president abraham lincoln pointed grant general in chief of all union forces. sheridan's first command was the cavalry corps of the army of the potomac during grant's overlapped campaign. the union cavalry had improved a lot since the beginning of the war, but it was still being used primarily for scouting, guarding wagon trains, and patrolling picketlines. sheridan was determined to change that. with grant's blessing, he forged the cavalry corps into an independent strike force. in may 1864, sheridan's troopers overwhelmed jeb stewart's fabled
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rebel cavalry. stewart was wounded in the battle and died the next day. he was another hard blow to the confederacy, coming almost a year to the day after stone wall jackson's death. grant's confidence in sheridan was rewarded by sheridan's battlefield victories and his impressive post war achievements. help he was president, grant once told a congressman that sheridan had no superior as a general, living or dead, and possibly no equal. sheridan said grant was capable of more generalship. he could manage a territory as large as any two nations can cover in a war. but sheridan would never have risen so high, nor would he have had cities and counties named after him, without cedar creek. a statue in sheridan circle in
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washington depicts sheridan on his towering war horse, in the act of rallying his army at cedar creek. green with age, the statue conveys sheridan's electric energy. lincoln and ed win stanton thought sheridan too young when grant proposed in july 1864 that he command the new army of the shenandoah. sheridan's size contributed to the projection of youth. he was 5'" and only 115 pounds in 1864. but as grant said, i think you'll find him plenty big enough for the job. just before sheridan's
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appointment, confederate general early and 14,000 troops matched down the san shenandoah valley, and into washington. it was a tremendous shock. the capitol was thrown into a panic. grant rushed troops to the city from his armies outside petersburg and early withdrew to prevent an occurrence the lincoln administration merged four military deposits into -- departments with sheridan in charge. he was to destroy the shenandoah valley's grains, produce, and livestock. grant told sheridan nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. at first sheridan did little more than maneuver. he had been cautioned not to go on the offensive until he was
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sure of victory. a defeat would harm president lincoln's re-election chances in november. and this was his first major command, so he was moving carefully. in mid-september, sheridan learned from an informant, a quaker school teacher in winchester named rebecca wright, that early sent away men to robert e. lee's apartment share don saw his chance. in september he attacked early's army and defeated it at the third battle of winchester. three days later sheridan's army followed up with a second victory at fisher's hill. after the two victories in september, sheridan did not expect an attack by the rebels, who were outnumbered roughly two-to-one. but at daybreak, october 19, they launched a brilliant surprise attack, literally catching the union soldiers
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sleeping. they routed sheridan's 34,000 men. sheridan was not there. three days before he had been summoned to meetings in washington and had not yet returned to his army. he had spent the night in win chester 15 miles away. after a quick breakfast, he left win chester with his staff and cavalry escort. news of the debacle that was still unfolding had not reached him. riding south he heard cannon fire as he and his entourage grew closer, the firing grew louder. then reaching a hilltop, sheridan saw the magnitude of the dollars that had befallen his army. quiet soldiers swarmed towards winchester in disordered retreat. he stopped the next move, trying to reform a new line near
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winchester. most commanders would have thought only of damage control at this point. this is where sheridan demonstrated his greatness. he rode down among his american, urging them to fight. when they saw their commander on his big war horse, the men began to cheer. they threw their hats in the air. he shouted to his men that hey would whip early's army that day and sleep in their camp that night. twice victorious under sheridan's man, the men believed. they followed him. late that afternoon, sheridan counterattacked and smashed early's army to pieces. con get rat general john gord wrote that the yankees rolled up the flank like a scroll, brig grade after brigade were crushed
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in rapid suggestion -- cobsivetively, and then union force controlled shenandoah valley. in washington, citizens paraded through the streets in celebration. standing at an open window under the white house portico, president lincoln proposed three cheers for sheridan two months earlier lincoln disspared of being re-elected, the peace party was changed. but sheridan captured atlanta and now had beaten the rebel army in the shenandoah valley. months after seered creek, sheridan rejoined grant's main arm outside petersburg, in 1865
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share don -- -- the first triumph of grant's campaign in 1864 and 1865. grant's army stormed into st. peter'sburg the next day. the pursuit lid by sheridan a week later at appomattox, on palm sunday. there, sheridan, his cavalry, and two done infantry corps followed lee. after the capture, grant sent sheridan to texas to force capitulation of the rebel arms in the southwest. by the time sheridan reached new orleans the armies had already surrendered. so instead sheridan devoted his attention to the second mission
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given him by grant to lead an army to the rio grand river and meet the mexican troops under emperor maximilian. maximilian supported the confederacy. former rebel troops were streaming into mexico seeking refuge. state department opposed any actions that might lead to war with mexico. so share dan -- sheridan conducted a clandestine cold war, arguably the first in u.s. history. he conducted con pick accuse troop ma nevers near the rio grande river and provided mexican insurgents with weapons from the federal arsenal. probably do to sheridan's evidents, and also due to events in europe, france's emperor, napoleon iii, withdrew his support of maximilian.
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maximilian's regime collapsed and the mexican insurgents that sheridan had supported, took control of their country. sheridan was a military governor of texas and louisiana during the early phases of reconstruction. the army commanders in the south were caught between congress' harsh reconstruction policies and president andrew johnson's opposition to them. most of them kept a low profile. sheridan did not. urged on by grant, he alone removed elected officials who defied congress' policies. fired scores of them. from city alderman to the governors of louisiana and texas. consequently, president johnson removed sheridan as military governor.
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he was commanded to lead the troops on the plains. it was here that sheridan began prosecuting with brutal effectiveness, the strategy that he implemented in the shenandoah valley. one of total war. the work the shenandoah valley was a milder form of an older warfare that did not distinguish between soldiers and civilians. by 1864, lincoln, grant, sheridan and sherman were in agreement that in inflicting suffering on southern civilians would more quickly end the bloodshed. and urging sheridan to conduct a total war of the shenandoah, grant wrote, if the war is to last another year, we want the shenandoah valley to remain a barren waste. sheridan believed it was more
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merciful to destroy property than to kill southern men. he wrote, if i had a burnful of wheat and a son, would much sooner lose the barn and wheat than my son. sheridan's men were usually careful to spare homes and civilian lives. still, the burning, as it was called, horrified and imbit erred valley residents. one described how the invaders came up the valley, sweeping everything before them like a hurricane. there's nothing left for man or beast from the horse down to the chicken. on the grate -- great plains sheridan had the same strategy with only less regard for collateral damage. warriors raided the new settlements on the plains and
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looted, raped and burn, they killed the men and carried off women and children. sheridan initially sent the cavalry after the raiders, just as his predecessors had, in the spring and summer. but it was an exercise in futility. troopers could never catch the young cheyenne and irrap hoe warriors. they knew the country well. so sheridan elected to strike the indians in their winter camps where they had previously been left unmolested. there they would be most vulnerable and least expecting an attack. an attacking indian village, sheridan was acting in his belief in collective responsibility. in other words, variants supported the indian raiders were cuppable, too. sheridan had one man in mind to lead the 1868 winter expedition. george armstrong custer.
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with the union-like calfry. custer served under sheridan at yellow tavern in the shenandoah valley, at five forks and sailor's creek in appomattox. sheridan raised custer through the ranks just as grant has raised sheridan. custer and sheridan were kin dread spirits, both were energetic, aggressive, bold, inspiring commanders, who led from the fraternity. as sheridan's had become grant's go-to commander so had custodier been sheridan's most dependable hard hitter. custer and 800 men from the seventh cavalry, hit cheyenne chief black kettles' cam in present-day oklahoma at daybreak in 1868. snow deep on the ground and it was bitter cold. the indians were caught
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completely offguard. 103 of them were killed. then the troopers slaughtered 800 of their horses and burned their lodges, food and supplies. sheridan's troopers pursued the cheyenne throughout the winter. the indians were pressed so hard they had little time to even hunt. they were kept constantly on the move. hungry and ragged, they gave up by summer of 1869 and came into the reservations. the winter campaign smashed the power of the southern plains indians. sheridan and sherman were demonized in the eastern press for their ruthless tactics but the western settlers hailed them as their saviors. in 1876 custer was brought in to wage the pivotal campaign to force the northern plains indians under their recession
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vacations. at the little big horn river he was careless and overreached. thousands of northern plains indians pounced on custer and his more than 200 men and wiped them out. little big horn was a galvanic shock to the energy. even former critics of sheridan agreed the indians must be suppressed at whatever cost. sheridan planned another winter campaign, but by two other of his favorite lieutenants from the civil war, nelson miles and ronald mckenzie. in snow and subzero temperatures they harried the indians, a take tacked their camps and burned their lodges. by summer 1877 all the northern plains indians had surrendered at their reservations. sheridan toured the little bighorn battlefield the year after the disaster to try to understand how it happened.
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he wrote, poor custer. he was the embodiyment of gallantry. i was always fearful -- he was too impet toss without del deliberation. sheridan, sherman and grant had lodged believed a permanent solution to the so-called indian problem might be the extermination of the buffalo. the indians depended on the bison for food, clothing and shelter. if the buffalo could be wiped out, the indians would have to live on their reservations in order to eat. but at the end of the civil war, more than 10 million buffalo still roamed the great plains. then german tanners invented a process to turf buffalo hides into high-grade leather in 1861 east coast tanners began to pay premium prices for buffalo
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hides. teams of buffalo hunters flooded the southern plains with their big buffalo guns and commenced wiping out the great herds in just a few years, the buffalo disappeared from the southern plains. members of congress and some state legislators tried to stop the slaughter but sheridan, grant, and sherman, blocked them. sheridan told the texas legislature, the buffalo hunters have done more in two years to pacify the indians than the army had done in 30. texas, he said, should give each hunter a bronze medal with a dead buffalo on one side and a discouraged looking indian on the other. by the end of the 1880s, just a few thousand buffalo remained in the west. while share dan was one of the most successful warrior generals
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of his generation, there's another side to him. he believed in fairness. in texas and louisiana, after the civil war, he defended black freedman who had been the target of southern fury over lg the wa and the generals overseeing reconstruction turned a blind eye to the lynchings, beatings and burnings. sheridan, however, dismissed elected officials who condoned the massacres. he conducted what may have been the first official act of racial integration in the south. banishing separate street cars in new orleans for blacks and whites. but there was little he could do to defend blacks in texas. the state was too big, and sheridan had too few troops. in 1865 and 1866, 500 white men were indicted for murdering
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blacks, and not one of them was convicted. of texas, sheridan memorably said, if i owned hell and texas, i would represent out texas and live in hell. [laughter] when the plains indians were last overwhelmed and forced to live on their reservations, sheridan tried to defend them, too. corrupt indian agents and contractors routinely stole their supplies and exploited them. the u.s. government looked the other way. sheridan and sherman repeatedly advocated letting the army manage the reservations. but they were foiled by the indian bureau and its contractors, lobbiests and congressional supporters. 1878, sheridan vented his frustration to sherman, writing
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we have occupied his country, taken away his domain, destroyed his herds of game, penned him up on reservations and reduced him to poverty. for humanity's sake, let us give them enough to eat and integrity in the agent's over them. sheridan questioned whether treaties and military campaigns had been the best way to deal with the plains indians. might have been better, sheridan wrote, if the indians received kind treatment administered with steadiness and justice. in 1872, yellowstone became the first national park. sheridan had already shown a keen interest in the region. he sent four expeditions into the park, beginning in 1871. in 1882, sheridan personally led a major expedition to the park. it was then that he learned that northern pacific railroad planned to build an 80-mile spur
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line into the park and to commercialize it. the railroad's development company, it turned out, owned exclusive rights to 4400 acres on seven tracts. in his report on the 1882 expedition, sheridan wrote that yellowstone was also being degraded by neglect, poachers were killing thousands of elk each year as well as other game. the geysers were routinely vandalized. sheridan said the park should be protected. expanded and made a preserve for big game. he called on congress to act and solicited supports from sportsmens clubs around the country. he proposed using the army if necessary to keep out skin hunters. the following year, senator george best of missouri, pushed to through an amendment through
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congress that reduced the area that could be developed in the park from 4400 acres to just ten. also, under the bill, the army could be deployed as a last resort to protect the park. that is exactly what happened in 1886, when northern pacific's allies zeroed out the park budget and park rangers stopped receiving pay checks. in august, 1886, sheridan ordered theaters u.s. cavalry to the park could toe operate it until further notice. the army did so for the next 32 years. until the new national park service took over in 1918. in 1884, general of the army, william sherman, retired and phil sheridan succeeded him as the army's commanding general. sheridan became the first army
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general and chief whose entire adult life had been spent in uniform. he was general in chief for just four years. he died of heart disease in august 1888, at the age of 57. sheridan was remembered as the rare commander who could inspire and improvise on the battlefield. this was evident at stone's river, missionary ridge, winchester, cedar creek, five forks and appomattox courthouse. he transformed the cavalry corps into a lethal strike force, capitalizing on its superior ability and the repeating rifles. sheridan was singular in the use of cavalry, artillery and infantry in support of one another. in his book, "the science of wan
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wrote, with one exception, 19th century american generals had been unequaled to the task of combining these. except sheridan. he wrote that sheridan's operations in the shenandoah valley and during his pursuit of the confederate army deserved a close study. the pioneers of warfare thought so. they studied the operations of sheridan and others like them as they forged a template for battle. tanks replaced cavalry and a new element was introduced, the war plain. beyond those innovations, sheridan is probably best remembered for strategic and tactical aggressiveness. a style of offensive warfare practiced through the years by generations of american leaders. fittingly, as one of the the
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practitioners, theodore roosevelt who presided at the dedication of sheridan's 14-foot high equestrian statue in washington in 1908. president roosevelt told the crowd that besides being a dash and cavalry leader and a great commander, share dan also, as he put it, showed his greatness with the tunnel touch of originality we call genius. [applause] >> be happy to take any questions. imsure there's some. yes, sir. >> you mentioned that there was little historical focus has been placed on him. why is that? pretty amazing. >> ways, it is. there's a very good reason for that. all of his papers were burned in the great chicago fire of 1871.
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he was -- at the time he was commander of the division of the missouri, and he had moved the -- that district to chicago because of the railroads going through there. and the great chicago fire wiped out the headquarters. so we don't have that much to go on. you have to -- i was forced to really rely heavily on people that served with him and they're auto buying -- autobiographies,d he wrote his personal papers after that point. so i think that's one of the main reasons, just material. >> i wonder if you'd -- i really enjoyed the book by the way. didn't know anything about sheridan until i read this.
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>> the. >> but it raised a question i have had for a long time. why that the generalship of the confederacy was so poor in the western compared to the eastern side? and my thinking had always been that sheridan and sherman and grant had faced the same kind of generals that the confederacy had in the east they might not have survived long enough to become competent generals. >> that's possible, yeah. the quality of the generals in the west wasn't that great. i think it's because so many of the good ones came out of virginia and defended their state. so, grant came east, he was haled as being a great general in the west, and everybody said, well, he hasn't faced robert e. lee yet. and that proved to be the case. he had a tough time with him during his campaign.
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>> does sheridan have any input with what happened to the indians and where they were sent? i never understood, jerry ran mow was sent to florida, but sitting bull was the bill cody show and traveled europe, and he is like the icon and everybody accepts. just does not compute or make sense. did he have anything to do with anything. >> he did with geronimo. geronimo was the last to give up. so, sheridan wanted to stop that, and so he decided the best thing to do would be to just ship him to florida, which is what they did. there is a photo in the book. they eventually went back, ended up on the oklahoma reservations.
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after a couple of years in florida. but he had direct input into that. as far as the other reservations, not so much. that was a policy made by the indian bureau, the department of the interior, and that's why the army wanted to get control because they thought they could do a better job, keep better track of everybody and treat them more fairly. >> can you tell us about sheridan's personal life? >> yes. he married late. he was in his early 40s, and he married the daughter of daniel rutger, who was a quarter master general for sheridan's department in missouri. met her during the great chicago
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fire. she was just a teenager, and rutger and his wife, and irene, lost their home so they came over and they stayed with sheridan and his brother at their home, which was not damaged by the fire. so they were married, and he ended up having three daughters and a son. and she was, i think in her early 20s when they married in 1875, and he was 42 or something like that. very happy marriage, and then they all moved to washington when he became general in chief. but he did not have a home life. his life was the army. >> he was there because of the expansion of the north. was it just northerners or was it southerners in the manifest
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destiny, too? >> they were into it, too. definitely. >> what happened with regard to -- if the south had won. >> i think so. they were into it because the -- before the war because they hoped to get more slave states and keep the balance in congress and everything. but, yeah, there were southerners -- but the great majority, i would say, just because of the way the population was, and the immigrants all came into the northeast. they kind of flowed from the northeast, through the midwest, and on out. but there were some southerners, definitely. not as many, though. yes, sir. >> since sheridan demonstrated such great qualities of leadership, was he ever approached about running for political office? >> i think it was mentioned.
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he never had any interest in it at all. none at all. i think he was kind of a little rough around the edges for that. he wasn't a politician. whereas sherman was highly intelligent, polished, came from a good family, and he was solicited. i don't think sheridan ever was. there's some biographers i have read that think that sheridan was born in ireland but that he said he was born in al ban niksch new york, because he always newell he wanted to run for president. are just in case he wanted to run, you know. but i don't believe that. i think he might have been born in ireland. i think there's pretty strong evidence he was. came over on the boat. but i think he gave his
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birthplace as albany, new york, because there was such a bias against the irish when he went to west point in 1848. and it was at the height of the immigration, the potato famine and everything. a million irish came over. and so i think he just wanted to avoid that. he didn't want to be cast as an immigrant. another irish immigrant. >> he aspired to governor? am i correct? governors of two states and under whose authority could he fire governors? >> well, he -- he thought he had the authority under congress' reconstruction policies, and he did, actually. because they refused to cooperate. and so he did. he fired the governor of louisiana.
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and -- but of he fired the governor of texas, then he was removed. yeah. [laughter] probably catholic, and mostly southerners were masons, particularly in texas because they're like the alamos of the nation. >> was catholic, definitely. yes? >> what did he think of the beaver at -- behavior at little bighorn and did he get involved in the inquiry afterwards? >> i don't think he got involved in that. i really have seen -- he kind of handed that over to others. he was pretty high up at that point. and he was in charge of a division, but the top of the department, but i've never seen anything on that.
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>> did he say the only good indian is a dead indian? >> close to that. now, they say that -- that was an old saying in the west, but he was of -- at a fort in oklahoma and was introduced to an indian chief, and he said, me so and so, me good indian, and sheridan looked at him and said, well, the only good indians i ever saw were dead ones. and it somehow ended up in the newspapers about the time when we the army was involved in this horrible attack in montana on the wrong indian village and wiped out, like, 150 indians, innocent indians. so, it really looked bad. >> many of the top generals on
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both sides were able to get some experience during the mexican war, '32-'33. where did his leadership ables come from? >> he was in oregon when they were trying to suppress the indians there. oregon and washington. called the oregon territory. actually washington state. and he led some small unit operations along the columbia river, and he also managed an indian reservation on the pacific coast of oregon, too. so, he had some experience there. but he started out small, in mississippi, given command of a regiment, cavalry regiment, and then he evidently just showed his ability, his training and a little experience he had. he had been in the army a long
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time by then. yes? >> did he ever face morgan? >> no. no, he didn't. the only cavalry he commanded was under the army of the potomac, and the army of the shenandoah in virginia. when he was in the west, he was in charge of an infantry division, stones river and missionary ridge. >> do you have another book in mind? >> yes. i'm working on a civil war book, actually. it's more focused. it's on the 30 days grant's overland campaign in northern virginia, that bloody campaign against lee. wilderness. cold harbor, and then the siege
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of petersburg began. that my current project. >> was he married already with his children when he was sent to meet with bismarck? >> no. that was five years before he was married. that is an interesting episode which i didn't get into here. he was -- he went to europe, and observed the franco prussian war, and his traveling companion was otto von best bismarck, and he sat in on all the meetings with the king, william i, and the high command, witnessed all the big battles, the battle of
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sudan, which the french were crushed. during this time the germans, prussians encountered guerrilla activity in the villages. guerrillas were cutting telegraph lines. they were sniping at soldiers on the roads. troops in the towns. and they -- sheridan was at dinner one night with bismarck and the king and some of the high command, and they said, well, we don't know how to deal with this because in their view, they were still wed to the old 18th century view of warfare. warfare was a battle between armies and the civ in rrtat reag thnewsobaetween armies and the civilians were so, sheridan told them, said, look, you have to -- you have to involve the civilians, too. it will shorten the bloodshed.
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he said you should leave the people with nothing but their eyes to weep with. that's what he told him. and they were shocked. they really were. and he said, if you're sunshined at in a village, hang the guerrillas and burn the village. that's what he would do. so, they pondered this a while, and then bismarck implemented that policy and they started doing retaliation. so, he did have an effect there. then arrter that, became part of the officer's manual for their german army in 1902. i go into that in the back, the legacy of the war. >> the germans -- [inaudible]
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>> what? >> i said the germans land -- >> oh, yeah. they carried it far beyond that. but you know, before theme p8th 18th century, that how wars was conducted in europe, certainly. they just -- civilians, soldiers, they burned villages, killed everybody, turn them into slaves. it there was religious wars in europe were horrible. but then the rise of the nation state in europe, they had these professional armies that would fight, light casualties, and they would negotiate a peace. and that's what the prussiasans were used to. [inaudible] going to be more northern than southern? >> no. i think it will be a balanced
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approach to not only -- graham definitely is a prime mover of this campaign, but lee and his core commanders, how they reacted, and they very ably defended themselves against overwhelming numbers. a very skillful defense through virginia. so, more of a balanced approach. 1nace.ible] >> a little bit politically incorrect but i just wondered, the actions that sheridan and sherman engaged in, how that fit into what we consider car crimes now. >> war crimes? well, certainly what they did on the great plains would be war
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crimes. but they did in gns,rgia and the shenandoah sale, i'm not sure. they tried to spare lives. the purpose was to destroy southern resources and their ability to wage war. so, i think that would be arguable, but certainly on the great plains. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail. or tweet us. >> i want t
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or tweet us. >> i want to talk to you about my book, strom thurman's america, and i want to tell you mystrom thurman story. o research in south carolina and people ask you what you're writing and you tell them,strom thurmond this, say, let me tell you my story atstrom their pond. everybody has a great story rmond, the time- they saw him do something crazy or that kind of thing. rmond story aboutstrom t-- bulletins in -- it's late july in 1992 and i'm on a flight from washington, dc to charlotte, north carolina. and i've been an intend that summer up on capitol hill. and one of my regrets of the su and ier was that i had never rmond.rom t-- all my fellow interns said you got to seestrom thurmond.
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he is such an uw sual appearance about him. i didn't know that they meant, really, about that. but i had my suspicions. so i'm on the flight and i look ahead in front of me and i see a man who has got these kind of orange colored hair, practically, and first generation hair colors, and shows you how slow i am. i think to myself, that must be rmond's head looks like. and of course it wasstrom thunder -- strom thurmond. i knew that when pns,ple were shaking his hand. i wanted to shake his hand, too because i had been in d.c. for the first time and i met all these politicians i had seen on tv, and i was about to go home and speak to my dad's rotary club and i wanted to talk about all the famous people i net washington, dc. so i was trying to shake his hand when i got oente the plane, but there were people already lined up to shake his hand.
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and i didn't get in line. and i didn't -- i am not a south carolinian. i don't have anything to say to him, and i was a little seefe-conscious. kind kind of self-conscious about standing in line to greet man who is best known for his segregation. so i thought it was good enough to say i had seen him and keep on walking. but i'm cony oicted, though. i'm conflicted. i walk down the concourse, 100 yards, and i look back, and here everybody has disspe muersed, shaken his hand, and here's that's 89-year-old man at the time, a suitcase -- a brief case in one hand and a travel bag in the other, and a package under one arm andawust shufy oing down this busy, crowded airport. and without thinking guy back and without thinking guy back and introduce myself and say,
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i'd be happy to help you get to the yes, flight? he said are you sure? i don oe want to delin s you. >> i said i had time. so we walked together for ten minutes, and i wasawust trying to m mue conversation with strom thurmond, so i told him about all the people i met that su and ier, and he said night -- nice things about the colleagues. i told him i was on my way to -- i had a gireferiend in florence, south carolina, and i said some silly comment about south carolina girls. i guess because the kind of small talk one made with strom thurmond. so i got him to his flight and shook his hand again and that was it. but i thoughad about the storya lot as i was writing this book because that story is a metstorr for the difficult i had in ry.iting about this -- or the challenge that i faced in writing about this very controversial figure.
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there's no easy or straightforward way to write before a figure as rmond,versials a strom t-- and i wonder if this book is an effort on my part to carry his baggage. goodness knows he has baggage that needs carryinhas the other challenge head, the real challenge in this book, was to fausehad the urge to not kif peomply walk away and not meet the map -- man face-to-face and present him in the three-dimensional character. so that's the challenge i faced. what i wantemadimensional chara. so that's the
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that embroil our politics today, and divide it. so that was the goal. that's the mission, as it were. but what are the big issues? what are the issues that a history of strom thurmond's america speaks to? we remember -- a lot of us remember who strom thurmond was, strom their mound was the 1948 dixiecrat presidential candidate. he was one of the lead authors of the 1956 southern manifesto. the protest of the supreme court's decision in the brown vs. board of education decision. strom thurmond is the record holder to this day of the longest one man filibuster. 24 hours and 18 minutes.
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he spoke against then 1957 civil rights bill. we remember strom thurmond as one of the last of the jim crow demagogues, and he was one that. but what we forget about thurmond, he was also one of the first of the sunbelt conservatives. what do i mean by that? what's a sunbelt conserve? the sun belt is one of the big stories -- one of the major stories in the history of 20th 20th century american politics, and that is the flow of jobs, of industries, of resources, and population, from the states of the northeast and the midwest to the south and the southwest, in the post-world war ii period. southern straights were recruiting industries, passing right to work law, receiving funding from the federal government to build military installations in a time when the
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united states was involved in a cold war against the soviet union. states like mississippi and georgia and texas and florida and southern california and arizona and north carolina are all being transformed the the post-world war ii period by this historic shift in population and political influence. think about it. this period from 1964 to 2008 could be thought of as kind of the period of the sunbelt dominance in american presidential history. you think about every president elected from 1964 to 2008 comes from a state of the sunbelt. lyndon johnson, from texas. richard nixon, from california. gerald ford was never elected so he doesn't count. he was from michigan. jimmy carter from georgia. ronald reagan from california. the first george bush from texas via connecticut. bill clinton from arkansas, and the second bush from texas. so 2008 is in some ways a watershed election and ends the
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40-year period of sunbelt dominance. there were issues that were critical in the politics that developed, that came out of the sunbelt. they tended to have a conservative cast. they tended to be oriented around issued of strong national defense, of an opposition to unions and a defense of free enterprise politics, and also it's in the sunbelt, in the south and southwest, that we see the rise of what -- by the 1970s, the religious right, evangelical and fundamental list voters in the process in a new and important way. so thurmond was at the forefront of all those issues and his own politics. national defense. a staunch anticommunist and played an important role in the -- led him to switch parties in 1964. he was the key figure in opposing labor unions and did so alongside people like barry
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goldwater in the late 1950s, even though earlier in his career was awe staunch advocate of unions in south carolina in the 30s and 40s, when the union vote was an important vote in south carolina. but he switches in the 50s and 60s and by 1970s becomes a die hard supporter of business against labor, and then he also had an important role in conservative evangelical politics. joins the board of bob jones university in 1950. he does it to win votes, and the upcountry of south carolina. been jones just moved to the country. just moved his university, and thurmond needed votes in the upcountry of south carolina. he lost the 1950 race for the senate. largely on votes he didn't win in the upcountry. that began a long process, a long relationship of thurmond with consecutives, fundamentalists and evangelical folks looking to get

Book TV
CSPAN October 20, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

Joseph Wheelan Education. (2012) 'Terrible Swift Sword the Life of General Philip H. Sheridan.' New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Texas 16, Washington 9, Strom Thurmond 8, Buffalo 7, South Carolina 7, Europe 6, Oregon 5, Louisiana 5, Sheridan 4, Indians 4, Virginia 4, Us 4, Florida 4, Chicago 4, Phil Sheridan 3, U.s. 3, Missouri 3, Lincoln 3, Sherman 3, Maximilian 3
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